October 15, 2016

Eritrean Delegation Statement at the UNHRC 67th Session– EXCOM Meeting

3 – 8 October 2016
Presented by Ambassador Tesfamicael Gerahtu, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eritrea


Excellencies and Delegates,

My delegation commends the UNHRC, EXCOM and the Chair person for organizing and leading the current session. I also congratulate you, HE Mr Filipo Grandi on your election as UN High Commissioner for Refugees and express my delegation’s readiness to engage and cooperate with your mandate.

We believe that the influx of migrants, forced displacements and refugees constitute a colossal force and challenge of today’s global reality. Accordingly, a governance of migration rooted on a development-migration nexus has decisive implications to the promotion of peace and security, and human right and development.

Excellencies and Delegates
Since independence, Eritrea has capitalized on strengthening the internal dynamics of nation building. In spite of challenges, progress has been achieved. This has strengthened the peoples’ livelihood, aspiration, equal opportunity, responsible participation and harmony. The country also enjoys peace and stability.

Eritrea continues to face existential external threats (i.e. occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories by Ethiopia, UNSC sanctions and belligerent stance of some countries) intended to undermine nation building. In spite of their impact, these threats have not rolled back the progress. Moreover, illegal migration embedded in a burgeoning global human trafficking network has also been imposed on Eritrea to serve this plot. President Obama’s own admission in the Global Clinton Foundation Initiative of September 25, 2012 is indeed a revealing testimony on this sad episode. Simply quoted on Eritrea it states “……we are partnering with non-government organizations and neighboring countries to take out children and women from the grip of their abusers…”

Excellencies and delegates,

In the above context, the governance of Eritrean migration and refugees has been complicated in the last decade. Economic challenge is a push factor that drives Eritreans to migrate in search of opportunities. However, the pull factors promoted by some countries to lure the working age population constitute the main drive. The wrong immigration policy followed on Eritrea thus encompassed preferential treatment to obtain automatic acceptance, fake and manipulated political asylum and deliberate accommodation of migrants from other nationalities, obviously pretending as Eritreans.

The good news is that the number of economic migrants going out of Eritrea has rapidly decreased recently. This is mainly a result of the promising internal development progress. The illusions tangled to migrant expectations also got exposed. Furthermore, ongoing constructive engagements with some countries to rectify the above immigration approaches on Eritreans also played a part.

Moreover, statistics has been manipulated, inflated and sensationally managed in order to tarnish the image of Eritrea. The wrangling on the question of displaced Eritreans in particular in the Ethiopian camps has become an open secret. The prevalence of ghost refugees and virtual numbers has also been exposed but we leave the veracity of these facts to the UNHRC. However, it is morally unacceptable for the government of Ethiopia to shed crocodile tears on the plight of some Eritreans who became victims of its campaign and fell on the trap of its conduits.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The prevailing inequitable international order and the protracted use of coercive measures and sanctions have contributed as drives for international migration and displacement. Nations are negatively influenced by global inequalities, asymmetries of trade relations, plundering of natural resources, demographic realities and environmental degradation. Internal injustices and the proliferation of inter and intra state conflicts and wars also intensify forced internal displacements, migration and refugees. In this context, migration and displacement have been used as tools for other political motives and served the campaign to vilify, isolate and destabilize targeted nations.

Globalization on its part has set a new set of additional motivations which facilitate international migration. Hence, genuine effort is needed to maximize its advantages for sustainable development goals. Effective governance of migration also befits the realization of globalization that ensures the human rights of migrants and refugees. The recent worrying revelations and panic on displaced persons by some developed countries has indeed tested our humanity and questioned the tenets of globalization. It denotes of a situation where the prevailing system is more challenged in its capacity to address humane treatment, integration and the principles of non refoulment.

We believe that all victims of displacement need to get the necessary humanitarian support. Their human dignity, human security and human development must also be respected. This entails provision of opportunities, better integration and involvement in productivity. In this connection addressing the effects of brain drain, role to contribute in the development of their country of origin as diaspora communities, the repatriation of human capital flights and the management of voluntary returnees remain critical.

Excellencies and Delegates,

Eritrea remains committed to sustain its ongoing internal development dynamics and address its real challenges including that of migration. It is also committed to contribute and cooperate in the strengthening of a viable global governance system of migration and refugees.

The Eritrean delegation has clearly highlighted the strategic issues in the recent New York Migration Summit of the UNGA. In this vein, my delegation earnestly calls for the strengthening of a rational approach, objective analysis, and reliable data/information on the above underlined issues. The prevailing situation also demands a paradigm shift to strengthen the governance of migration and refugees and address the critical challenges.

I Thank you Mr. Chairman!

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